Top 200 songs.
An interesting diversion. My Top 100 or so CDs have been nutted out over the years - refer Desert Island Discs. Now my old friend Len has provided me with a disc of his Top 100 "songs" so I felt that I had to attempt something similar, but I don't have Len's fortitude. 100 or so, I thought, then perhaps 150, nahhhhh.....maybe 200... could have kept going, but then there's the write up, the accompanying reasons for choice, which I must get started on.....world's yer oyster son, get into it. Is this final? Not likely - I could add more tomorrow. Only 1 classical?? Well I could have added more but then we'd be up to 300...this one had to go in.
Collectors are orderly creatures and jump at the chance of classifying and banging things into their appointed boxes - refer Saturday Morning Ashwoods and Collectors. But what is the basis of choice - nostalgia, artistic merit, lyrics, musical innovation, classic status, da groove mon, aesthetically appealing, dig the beat, cool man, tickles my ivories, absolutely fab, "oooh, ah like it"?
Well these are discs which I would hope to have with me, should I be stranded on a desert island (with a superb sound system and electricity of course, a fabulous tsunami proof island hideaway, a fishing rod... and maybe one or two mermaids....I didn't say that!!) Some have nostalgic value eg Cliff Richard's live version of "Move It" which I recovered from the lifeboat platform after a wind gust blew it over the side of the "Fairsea" in the Indian Ocean 1962. So, that had to be included didn't it? Nonetheless, it is a superb example of early British, pre Beatles rock - check out Hank B Marvin's lead and Jet Harris' bass. Edith Piaff's "Les Mots D'amour" has romantic attachment, but of course it is a great performance by a chanteuse magnifique.
Looking through the list I realise I'm a traditionalist, a roots aficionado. There is little from recent years and yet modern eclecticism does appeal. I love the use of technology, particularly when it incorporates indigenous music, as for instance with Mustt Mustt by Nusrat Farka Ali Khan, Amadou et Miriam, Lo Jo, Susheela Raman, Mercan Dede, Omar Sosa.
The final list, like the list in Nick Hornby's very amusing book High Fidelity, is a moveable target, subject to whim, nostalgia, vacillation, further listening and discoveries. If only one had more ears, and time.....! The record that gave you a glow back then and put a smile on your dial, your secret song, has now been flogged mercilessly by those two cent stations and one cent jocks. But that's pop music, instant glow.......or is it art where further listening reveals depth? It turns like a diamond and each face reveals another aspect......Mmmm sometimes - "Madame George" but perhaps not "Papa Oom Mow Mow". It depends on your memory and imagination. This is not high art and was not intended to be so, initially. It was intended for dance, excitement and foreplay, intimacy and instant glow. And along the way the moneymakers shook the roots out of it and tried to cabaret, homogenise and codify. But the roots prevailed, yea on back streets bro, porch and dance halls and independent small labels kept it alive. In writer Tim Winton's expression, "dirt music". Real music. The best of it sounding spontaneous, exciting and unpredictable.
I have included the top 30 here, the remaining 170 or so can be viewed on my website
Were You There Soul Stirrers (with Sam Cooke)
Laudate Dominum Mozart - K 339 Vesperae Solennes Phillips edition soloist (?)
Madame George Van Morrison
Mystery Train Elvis Presley
I Am The Walrus The Beatles
All Along The Watchtower Jimi Hendrix
Moonlight Mile The Rolling Stones
Drown In My Own Tears Ray Charles
Gimmie Shelter The Rolling Sones
Elvis Presley Blues Gillian Welsh
A Change Is Gonna Come Sam Cooke
Tomorrow Night Lonnie Johnson
Al Bowley's In Heaven Richard Thompson
Les Mots D'Amour Edith Piaff
Come On In My Kitchen Robert Johnson
Canned Heat Tommy Johnson
Dark Is The Night Blind Willie Johnson
A Strange Affair Linda and Richard Thompson
Oh Well Pts1&2 Fleetwood Mac (with Peter Green)
Lucille Little Richard
Unchained Melody The Righteous Brothers
See Emily Play Pink Floyd
The Green Manalishi Fleetwood Mac (with Peter Green)
Gimmie A Pigfoot Bessie Smith
Paint It Black The Rolling Stones
Future Blues Willie Brown
Pain In My Heart Otis Redding
Any Day Now Soul Stirrers (with Sam Cooke)
Give A Man A Home Five Blind Boys
Little Wing (live) Jimi Hendrix